Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas 2009

It doesn't seem possible that Christmas Day is behind us.  I am one of those people who likes to keep my Christmas decorations up throughout the Christmas season.  It seems like I can enjoy the special feelings when all the craziness is gone and there is plenty of time for reflection.

Our Christmas was wonderful.  We always celebrate with friends and family on Christmas Eve.  We had close to seventy people here this year with so much food and good cheer.  Christmas Day was quiet and peaceful.  We went to church early and then just enjoyed the day with our #4 son and his family who were staying with us.  We celebrated our Christmas baby's second birthday even though he came down with the fever bug and was not feeling himself.  Poor baby.  Dinner was a delicious clam chowder (made by DH) and homemade bread. My mother joined us and a good time was had by all.

The contrast between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day is amazing.  I tend to rely on photos from everyone else because I am generally too busy to grab any for myself.  I did manage to catch a few as we prepared for  gift opening.

Then there is quiet!!!!

The day after Christmas we celebrate with my husband's side of the family.  For years my in-laws would have large inflatable toys set up in their yard for all the children to enjoy.  The tradition has continued and everyone has a great time. 

Now we march on into 2010.  It seems like it was only yesterday that we were worried about Y2K.  Could it actually be ten years already?  We now start on the second decade of the 21st century.  Yikes!

Today is the day that I consider to be another birthday for me.  It was thirteen years ago today that I was admitted to the ICU for the next eight days.  I had toxic shock syndrome.  Everyone was so ill that Christmas and I assumed that I had the same thing that everyone else did.  When my temperature spiked to 106.2 and my fingers were going numb, I had enough medical knowledge to seek attention.  I spent the evening of the 27th in the emergency room with so many doctors I could not begin to count them.  My blood pressure was plummeting, finally reaching 52/14.  There was not much hope, but thanks to an amazing team, great medicine and a world of prayers, I am still here today.  The only residual from my adventure is a lack of feeling in my fingertips.  I miss not being able to feel the softness of a baby's skin, the lushness of a fabric and the sense of a blood vessel when starting an IV in a patient, but I am here and still enjoying life to the fullest.  Upon discharge from the hospital, my doctor said to me, "I am so glad that you did better than my last patient with TSS,"  I asked why and he replied that she had died.  I am glad too.

My sewing has taken a back seat throughout the holidays and I am eager to get back in and play.  Our December Schnibbles project was perfect for the busy month.  They were tuffets.  I made my first one and was so addicted to them that I made four more for my mom and sisters for Christmas.  Trust me, these are not tuffets that Little Miss Muffet could sit upon, but are precious all the same.  I love how tiny they are.  They are filled with crushed walnut shells and have such a wonderful feel to them.

I won some natural bamboo batting in the Virtual Quilt Show and am so excited about giving it a try.  Have any of you used it for quilting yet?  If so, how do you like it?  I have been wanting to give it a try since I first saw it and just have not done so yet.  It was so much fun to see all the wonderful Christmas quilts that people made.

As we tuck 2009 into the history books, I would like to thank all of you for your friendships, encouragement and inspiration that I enjoy each and every day.  My wish for each of you is for a blessed new year filled with health and happiness.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas

My wish for all of you is a very joyous and blessed Christmas to you and to your families.  We will be celebrating our Savior's birth with our family and friends so I will be stepping away from the wonderful world of blogging for a short spell.

Enjoy the season.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

.........Let the Wrapping Begin

Yesterday was a delightful day.  DH had been in the Twin Cities for a few days on business so he played hooky from work yesterday.  The day promised lots of sunshine and warm temperatures so we picked up my sister and BIL and drove up to the wine counrty which is about 1 1/2 hours north from us.  It was just glorious!  The temperature soared to 78* and it was crystal clear as we drove along the beach to our destination. 

They have started to prune the grape vines so we had to get out and inspect the job.  Good job too!!!!!

Loved this old barn that had a simple Christmas wreath hanging above the door.

We also loved the look of this tree still standing proud.

We stopped for lunch at a new Greek restaurant in the area, browsed through a couple of art galleries and then headed back home.  The Channel Islands were clearly visible and just gorgeous.  They are miles out, normally shrouded in fog and are not easily seen so this was a perfect day.

Last night was the last Friday Night Sew In over at Heidi's blog and I did get a bit of sewing done.  We were suppose to go to two of the grand's birthday parties (combined), but the stomach flu was going around over there.  NO THANK YOU!!!!!  We will reattempt tomorrow.  Anyhoo.....I worked on my Schnibble project for this month.  They are small tuffets.  Mind you this little pincushion is only 4" big.  It was a fun project and I can definitely see myself doing more of these........after I clean up the spilled ground walnut shells that poured out when my funnel flipped out while filling it.  GRRRRR.  Somehow, I do not think my rotary cutter is going to like running into one of those little grains while cutting.  Now I ask, why did I fill it over my cutting table????

The cutting table is now stacked high so let the wrapping begin.  I have to make sure that I have accounted for all 21 of the grands before it is too late.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

............It's Beginning to Feel Like Christmas

Can you believe that Christmas is almost here?  Somehow, things don't seem as hectic out there as they have to me in the past.  I was actually able to go out on Tuesday and finish up with the shopping and the crowds weren't disturbing at all.  There were no lines and everyone was pleasant.  Yeah!

We were blessed to have our two year old grandson for five days this week and we really enjoyed our time with him.  His birthday is actually next week - on Christmas Day.  One of the fun things that we did while he was here was to take our two youngest grandsons to brunch with Santa.  I must say that neither one of them thought much of the jolly old man. 

This one wanted to hide and pretend he wasn't at the table saying "hello"

and this one wasn't really sure about that lap thing that Santa likes to do.

Speaking of Santa......We have a roadside Santa statue that sits along the 101 Freeway near us.  We often pass him on our jouneys here and there, but this week I stopped to take a picture of him to share with you.  He once sat along the 101 Freeway in a beach community near Santa Barbara atop a faux chimney on Santa Claus Lane.  He had been a landmark there since 1948.  Although the Lane still remains under the same name, the community wanted to update it's look to a New England fishing village.  Out with the old and in with the new for Santa.  Fortunately, in 2003 he was rescued and moved to a new spot, still overlooking the freeway.  His upper torso is 22' tall and in the summertime he switches to sunglasses.  If you want to read more about it you can find some information here.

Two of the granddaughters came over for a sewing marathon of Christmas gifts for their friends and family.  We had so much fun together.  They were going through my fabrics and trying to figure out what material they want to use for their spring dance dresses while they were here.  Their lives will be forever enriched because of their ability to sew. 

My Siggy blocks were returned from Melissa and they are awesome.  After the holidays I will get to the task of putting them together and I can't wait.  Melissa did such an incredible job on this swap and even included a very cute strawberry stick pin with the blocks.

Another Siggy that I have participated in is sponsered through Annalies in the Netherlands.  It works on a one on one swap basis.  I have so far received four blocks and each are fabulous.  One of the blocks is from Dorine who was my swap partner in the Friendship Bag Swap.  I am looking forward to receiving many more blocks in the future.

I also worked on scarfs for the girls this week.  I made them with flannel on the outside and minkee on the inside.  They are so soft!  They will come in handy if we have another week of chilly weather.

We had a week of really cold weather (for us anyway).  We actually had two nights of freezing temperatures.  It is always so hard on the farmers in our area and we could hear the wind fans blowing all night.  We lost many plants in our yard and I am sure that the farmers are assessing their damages as well.  We can ocassionally get such cold temperatures, but it will normally occur in January.  This week it is back into the 70s which is the weather that I thrive the best.  I always have so much more energy when it is warm and sunny.  I know, I know.....we NEED the rain, but could it rain all night and be sunny and warm all day????

If anyone is looking for something to do on Friday night, Heidi and Bobbi are hosting another sew in - the last one this year.  There are a couple of small projects that I would like to make so I am going to try to participate, but we have a couple of grandchildren birthday parties this week.  I will have to see what the plans are first.

I hope everyone can slow down and enjoy this upcoming week. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

...........Favorite Christmas Quilt

Insights from Sew Cal Gal is hosting a virtual Christmas Quilt show open to anyone who has quilted a sewing item that they would like to have included in the show.  It is always so much fun to visit other quilters and see what inspires them and what they have created.  Be sure to visit her site and then go and visit the other quilters to see what they have done.  You are definitely going to find inspiration in all of the gorgeous work.  Also.....if anyone wants to add a quilt to the show, please do so.  I would love to visit all of yours as well.

My contribution is something that I have posted before, but I absolutely loved the project and I love displaying them each year.  The grandchildren love seeing them come out of the cedar chest.

It is my Skating Santa and Mr. Snowman quilt pair.  They are done on a fusible grid, much like the watercolor quilts.  It was the first time that I had done that technique and I loved the way they turned out.  I believe the pattern was from Keepsake Quilting several years ago.  They can be used for table runners, wall hangings or, in my case, draped on the floor under the Christmas tree.  I have also used them draped across the back of the sofa which looks adorable as well.

I keep telling myself that I do not NEED any new Christmas items, but I find myself loving to make Christmas pieces.  Can anyone ever have too many?????

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Another Saturday and the weeks just keep zipping past.  Why doesn't life get a virus like the computers and slow things down once in awhile?

This week has been busy getting the fall out and the Christmas welcomed.  Having a large Thanksgiving here last Saturday night and then a big Christmas dinner this weekend makes me feel as though all I have done is cook.  Hmmm.  It's a good think one cannot put weight on by all the cooking that they do. 

I am ready for dinner tonight.  The appetizers and desserts are done, the house is reasonably clean and decorated and I am trying to remember all the things that I should be doing.  After tonight I will spend my time getting ready for Christmas.  I recently read on a blog about a gal who will not be blogging for the last two weeks of December in order to celebrate Christmas.  I thought that was such a wonderful idea and am considering doing it as well.  I know how much time I can spend on the computer and I know it could be better spent in most cases.  How about all of you?

Tables are set.....ten people at each.

Last evening was our second sew-in with Heidi.  Although I did not finish much, I did manage to complete the hand quilting and binding on my Fall Swap.  It isn't due until January, but it feels good to have it done ahead of time.  I used the center motif from my Schnibbles this month (because I didn't have enough fun doing all of those half square triangles).

The Chrismas lights are up and the tree is decorated.  We have a "real" tree as well as the tree that I inherited from my in-laws.  I like the pre lit tree only because I can leave it up forever and not worry about it drying out.  Although I must admit that I do like the real tree for the smell it leaves in the house.

Grandpa and Mr. J checking out the train under the tree.  I wonder why the train is always off the tracks.

Someone in our valley puts up the biggest cross on top of his hill each year.  It is visible for miles and miles.  At night it looks as though it is suspended in mid air.  I tried to capture a photo of it, but this is not really clear.  You can get the general idea of how spectacular it looks.

This is the view from our back yard.  The lighted cross looks small here, but is quite large.

I will close off for now and finish up getting ready before our son and his family arrive for the weekend.  I hope to have more to share in my next post.  We are actually suppose to get rain this next week so we may have some excitement around here.  Let's hope they are correct in their prediction.  I think that is the only job in the world where you can be wrong so often and still NOT get fired!